You know how much I love ranting to you guys and I know this subject is dear to many people. In fact, it was one of the reasons I started this blog. I have so many thoughts and feelings rolling around inside my head that I can’t really talk about with anyone, simply because I have yet to encounter one person in my real life that I don’t pay per session that I can count on to not judge me when I’m in a slump.
Depression and anxiety.
It seems to be such a taboo subject and while I’ve never really been ashamed to say or admit that I struggle with depression, I don’t talk about it unless someone ask me a pointed question. Most people will try to banter with me, “OH MY GOSH, I totally deal with that, too! Sometimes I’ll eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerrys and then I feel better!” Hot damn, you guys. If some ice cream was all it took for me to feel better on any given day, I be the happiest fatty you’ve ever met. But it doesn’t work like that, and frankly? I’m not trying to get into a presidential debate with you about this topic anyway. But the main reason I don’t talk about it because people get SO JUDGMENTAL and fuck, I hate judgmental assholes.
A local Mommy Facebook Page recently debuted an article about how 1 in 4 moms take pills for: sleeping, depression, anxiety, or stress, or all of the above. I sat back and thought, “Depression, specifically in women and mothers, runs rampantly un-diagnosed in our society! Good for these woman for getting the help they need!” Looking back on my life, I wish that someone had had the wherewithal to pull me aside after I had children and say “Something is wrong with you”. You mean to tell me that I could have bonded infinitely better with both my daughters had even one person stopped to see that I was a young mother and chemically hurting?
The more I read, the happier my heart felt that these women, these mothers, not only know that they have issues but are doing something about it! They want to be better parents; They want to be more productive citizens; They want to raise well adjusted kids; They’re getting the help they deserve and help that millions more need and aren’t receiving. GOOD FOR THEM!
The comments began to roll in and I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t cried a couple times today because of the hurtful, hateful, and JUDGMENTAL comments that fellows mothers made.
“Did you ever read the stories of woman who kill their children? Most, if not all, I have read were on an antidepressants. “Honey , the spider told me to kill the children”…true story…”
“I just wonder why so many people cannot deal with stress?”
“I never had to resort to drugs to sleep or cope with life. In order to break this cycle, I think that children need to learn coping skills from a young age. They need to experience loss and disappointment once in a while to realize that these are temporary conditions which will go away. Drugs should be an absolute last resort after all other efforts have been exhausted. Medicated is no way to go through life.”
“I know people that take pills that don’t have children. The world has become to depended on meds to make you live a normal everyday life. People cant cope anymore with issues.”
“I seriously think that 90% of the woman who do are using it as a crutch!”
I’m happy for you guys. Really, I am! I am GRATEFUL that you’ve never had to deal with depression. I’m overjoyed that you’ve never cried yourself to sleep at 6 pm while your children play out in the living room with their father. I’m happy that you’ve never been in such a daze that you only realized dinner was burning because the smoke detector went off. I’m ecstatic that you’ve never cried yourself into hysterics in the bathtub because of reasons you can’t quite grasp or wrap your head around. I never want any of you to experience the stomach-curling torture that is being double over in a dark hallway trying to catch your breath. I never want anyone to have to clutch at their chest before going into a meeting and hoping that this feeling passes quickly because your heart feels like it’s going to burst right out of your chest wall. I hope that your spouse doesn’t ever look at you with anger and say “There is NOTHING wrong with you. Gget up off the laundry room floor.” I pray that your significant other doesn’t ever roll his eyes when you say that you feel, deep down, something is terribly terribly wrong, after you spent the better part of three hours working up the courage to tell the one person that you thought was obligated to take you seriously and not judge you. Ladies, I pray that you never EVER look at your children with disgust and resentment when they cry because goddammit, if they are crying who is going to hold YOU when YOU cry?
You need to STOP THIS RIGHT NOW. I can’t even begin to express my angst with people JUST LIKE YOU. You are absolutely the reason that women all over the country are crying alone in their closets. And couches. And drivers seats. And laundry room. And the bathroom stall at work. You are the reason that so many women suffer in silence. You are the reason so many children are being robbed of fully functional parents, because to those of you who can handle life without aid? I’m happy for you. But not everyone can and it’s people like you that make it out to be a terrible thing. Would you look down on someone with cancer because you are able to waltz through life without having to waste your time scheduling chemo treatments? “It’s too bad your parents didn’t teach you how to deal with disappointment.” Would you snub your nose at a man in a wheelchair because you are able to walk up and down the stairs by yourself? “I don’t know why you can’t just deal with it.” Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?
You don’t ever have the right to judge those of us who can’t simply because you can.
Life is great! Life is excellent! But sometimes people are just sad, or blue, or down, or *insert whatever other fluffy synonym you healthy folks want to use* all the goddamn time and they don’t like their children and they want to stay in bed for hours and they don’t want to cook dinner and they act ambivalent towards their significant other and they can’t focus at work and miss their freeway exit more than once they wish that someone would look at them without judgment or apprehension and say, “Something is wrong with you and you need help and that is O.K.”
And it is OK. Oh my gosh, it is! I swear! And I know that it doesn’t feel like it’s OK! I know that you are the lousiest mother, the most horrible friend, and the most inadequate wife/spouse/girlfriend/lover ever in the history of ever! I was the stinkiest, nastiest, most broken down, most dysfunctional woman ever and you all are too, I KNOW. Why does it have to be us? Why do we have to feel broken? Why aren’t WE able to deal when everyone around us is? Why can’t we be normal like ALL THOSE WOMEN WITH OPINIONS who believe that our issues are clearly because our parents didn’t teach us how to cope and obviously because we just don’t know how to deal with our stress levels and certainly because we don’t exercise enough or eat right. (Is chemically altering your brain balance by eating certain foods really a thing? Because if that’s the case, has anyone wondered why the greatest minds of our times haven’t figured out that we could solve depression and chronic anxiety with a couple of marshmallows and a cinnamon stick? Where did you get your medical degree, ma’am?)
Here is why you need to keep your fool mouth closed and your uneducated opinions to yourself from now on:
We are all well versed in the symptoms of depression, right? But what people like to pretend they know some shit about is WHY depression occurs. Most people like to believe that depression is caused by stuff like this:
- Life events. Certain events, such as the death or loss of a loved one, financial problems, and high stress, can trigger depression in some people.
- Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse or loss of a parent, may cause permanent changes in the brain that make you more susceptible to depression.
That sounds about right. Those are contributing factors and certainly the most notably judged ones. But what about this:
- Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose biological family members also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.
Research is leaning towards the idea that certain genes may contribute to chronic or severe depression? Huh. Ok. What about this:
- Hormones. Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
Hmmm, all you Ben & Jerry binging bitches may be on to something here… but how about this:
- Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
- Neurotransmitters. These naturally occurring brain chemicals linked to mood are thought to play a direct role in depression.
Depression is a brain issue. Many circumstances in life are contributing factors to a bought with depression; a situation that facilitates it. Now, I’m no doctor but I’ve deduced that perhaps depression ISN’T just something you ‘get over’. I don’t know about any of you but I am not smarter than my biology and when you start throwing in fancy words like “neurotransmitters” and “chemicals” and “physical brain changes”, I’m likely to believe that it isn’t as cut and dry as you ‘normal’ woman make it out to be.
These women who can’t “deal with life”? They don’t need your judgement. They don’t need your dirty looks or your condemnation and they most certainly DO NOT NEED your high horse opinions that are spewing forth from an uneducated mouth connected to a pair of feet who have never been in their shoes. Since when did it become OK to incessantly shame people? Every person, every mother, EVERY ONE who has ever felt even the slightest twinge of “I’m sad for no reason and I want to stay in bed all day” or a speck of “What is wrong with me??” or a smidge of “My exit was three miles ago and I don’t know how I got here” or a dollop of “Late for work again because I was doubled over in the hall” is meant to feel… ashamed? Because they don’t handle their day-to-days like their neighbor can? Or their best friend can? Or the mommy down the street can? How terrible. Terrible and tragic and sad. I’m sad for every woman, every mother, every friend, and every relative that suffers alone at the risk of being judged by people just like you.
Gut wrenching admission that I am willing to share in hopes that someone somewhere will learn something: After spending New Years in a drunken stupor that renders all other drunken stupors a child’s game, I took myself to the doctor under the ruse of meeting some friends for lunch. My ex husband shamed me often for feeling like something was wrong. He berated me even more often for crying for no reason. When I admitted that I knew something was wrong, he looked at me with disgust to which I have never seen in anyone since. Three months on medication and he turned around one day and said, “You’ve been much better lately. I told you nothing was wrong and that you’d get over it.” I wish that even one person had supported me through my battle before I was diagnosed in 2009. How many thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people go untreated because they aren’t supported? I was strong enough to take myself to the doctor and hid it from those I loved but not everyone is. Depression isn’t something that “goes away” or you “get over” but at the risk of being accused culpable for my brain problems, I was, and still am willing, to suffer alone.
What I won’t do is be silent when I see people in need. When people are being judged. When they’ve hit rock bottom and all they need is a hand or a lifeline. Getting help for mental illness in this country is to most inane thing I’ve ever had to deal with. It is expensive and time consuming. And by expensive, I mean $100 a week for therapy with adequate insurance and $100 a month or more in prescriptions, just to make it through each day (in some cases; every person is different and person needs help differently). And if that isn’t enough, we get your clear and happy eyes peering down your professionally powdered noses at us? Please, girl, go SHUT THE FUCK UP and SIT THE FUCK DOWN somewhere else. Don’t talk if you are uneducated about the disease we are fighting and you have nothing nice or supportive or empathetic to say.
What we need is empathy. We need support. We need love. And we need to be told that it’s OK. Be a lifeline, not an asshole.